ellen-ochoa

Badass Scientist of the Week: Dr. Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa (1958—) is an astronaut, engineer and musician best known as the world’s first Hispanic female astronaut. Born in Los Angeles, Ochoa completed her undergraduate degree in physics at San Diego State University in 1975, then went on to achieve her Masters and PhD at Stanford University in electrical engineering. She’s a pioneer of spacecraft technology—she researched optical systems for automated space exploration at the NASA Ames Research Center, and she has co-invented an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and a method to remove noise from images. In 1990, she was selected by NASA as a mission specialist and flight engineer, and served on her first space flight in 1993: a nine-day mission on the shuttle Discovery, during which the crew conducted atmospheric and solar studies, and Ochoa operated a research satellite in the study of the sun. Ochoa went on to undertake four space flights in total, logging over 950 hours in space. Her assignments while in the Astronaut Office included flight software, computer hardware development, and robotics development, and her awards include NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal (1997), Outstanding Leadership Medal (1995) and Space Flight Medals (2002, 1999, 1994, 1993). Aside from being an astronaut, Ochoa is also a classical flutist and a private pilot, and she currently lives in Texas with her husband and two children, where she serves as Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center, Houston.

Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina in space.

Ellen has spent nearly 1,000 hours in space over four missions conducting atmospheric research and visiting the International Space Station.  Today she is Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center.  Ellen is also a co-inventor on patents for an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and a method for noise removal in images.

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Ellen Ochoa (B. May 10, 1958)

Born in Los Angeles, California, Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic women in space. During her nine-day mission, she monitored flight software, computer hardware, and robotics on board the ship. She holds a bachelor of science degree in physics from San Diego State University, a master of science degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University. 

In addition to her trek in space, she broke new ground in spacecraft technology by developing an optical system used to detect defects in a repeating pattern. In addition to this, she co-invented an optical inspection system, and optical recognition method, and a method for removing noise in images.

Recognition of her work include awards such as the Distinguished Service Medal, Exceptional Service Medal, Outstanding Leadership Meda, and four Space Flight Medals from NASA, as well as The Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. She also has three schools named after her in the United States. She is now retired. (x)(x)

Ellen Ochoa is the first, and only, Latina astronaut to fly in space. Born in 1958, she has spent nearly 1,000 hours in space during four shuttle missions. Ochoa is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Harvard Foundation Science Award, Women in Aerospace’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award.

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MARCH 30 - ELLEN OCHOA

Currently serving as the director of the Johnson Space Center, Ellen Ochoa was the first Latina astronaut. Since her first mission in 1993 - when she ventured out on the shuttle Discovery for nine days to study the Earth’s ozone layer - she has logged nearly 1,000 hours in space.

Holding a degree from Stanford in electrical engineering, Ochoa is also the co-inventor on three patents for an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and a method for noise removal in images.

Ellen Ochoa (10 May 1958 – present)

Born on May 10, 1958, in Los Angeles, California, Ellen Ochoa received her master of science and doctorate degrees at Stanford University. She was selected by NASA in 1990 and in 1991 became the world’s first Hispanic female astronaut. A mission specialist and flight engineer, Ochoa is a veteran of four space flights, logging more than 950 hours in space. She lives in Texas with her family. 

Astronaut Ellen Ochoa was born on May 10, 1958, in Los Angeles, California. Selected by NASA in 1990, Ochoa became the world’s first Hispanic female astronaut in 1991. She graduated from Grossmont High School in La Mesa, California, in 1975, and received a bachelor of science degree in physics from San Diego State University in 1980. She then went on to attend Stanford University, where she received a master of science degree and doctorate in electrical engineering. 

A mission specialist and flight engineer, Ochoa is a veteran of four space flights, logging more than 950 hours in space. Her technical assignments have included flight software and computer hardware development and robotics development, testing and training. She has served as Assistant for Space Station to the Chief of the Astronaut Office, lead spacecraft communicator in Mission Control and Acting Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office. She currently serves as Director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. 

Ochoa’s numerous awards include NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal (1997), Outstanding Leadership Medal (1995) and Space Flight Medals (2002, 1999, 1994, 1993). Besides being an astronaut, researcher, and engineer, Ochoa is a classical flutist. She lives in Texas with her husband, Coe Fulmer Miles, and their two children.

I think of it as a good opportunity to let, in particular, school kids know that this job and other interesting jobs in science and engineering are open to anyone who works hard in school and gets a good education and studies math and science. And that it’s not just for a select group of people.

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Happy Mothers day! 

In a big number of countries today is mothers day,  so don’t forget to thank your mother for all she has done for you. 

In the top left Chiaki Mukai is supported by her mother during astronaut training. Top right shows Ellen Ochoa with her son on her arm after returning from space. shows. Anna Fisher (bottom left) was the first mother in space with her husband Bill Fisher and their daughter Kristen Ann.  In Bottom right is Paolo Nespoli with his mother, he lost her last year while he was in space.

 FYI: Korolyov, the Chief Designer, was of the opinion that female astronauts should not be mothers in order for them to concentrate on the space program. In China on the other hand, future female astronauts must have given birth naturally, according to china this will ensure that they are mentally and physically prepared for space.   

TBT to that time students at 826LA’s after-school tutoring program wrote a chapbook about Ellen Ochoa and sent her a copy. Read on to see which story led to becoming the title of the book!

Fantasy of Ellen Ochoa Alien Possession, written by Miguel Angel Luis Lopez

Ellen Ochoa went to another planet, then she came back to Earth. Now she is an alien. She robs things. She goes to class to ear children. She robs ice cream. She robs computers. She attacks the school. She rips up homework. She gives wedgies. 

She takes people’s hearts, puts them in her machine, and makes soap. When she is inside, she locks the door and throws snakes. Last, she destroys the world and robs it of giant gold. 

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Science and Medicine

  • Astronauts: Franklin Chang-Dìaz, 1986. He flew on a total of seven space-shuttle missions. 
    Ellen Ochoa The first female Hispanic astronaut was Ellen Ochoa, whose first of four shuttle missions was in 1991.
  • Nobel Prize in Physics: Luiz Walter Alvarez, 1968, for discoveries about subatomic particles. Later, he and his son proposed the now-accepted theory that the mass dinosaur extinction was caused by a meteor impact.
  • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Severo Ochoa, 1959, for the synthesis of ribonucleic acid (RNA).




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